Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate under fire recently for claiming to be Native American, knocked "the academic world" for lacking diversity in the workplace.
"Let me put it politely: there was never a line in the ladies' room," Warren said at Netroots Nation 2012 convention during a panel about the "war on women" in Congress. She said that was true of her corporate and political experience, not just the academic environment. "That's what gives you the real determination to make the kind of change that we need to make."
Warren listed herself as Native American, despite a lack of evidence for that heritage, early in her legal career. "When she was hired, Harvard Law School had just denied tenure to a female teacher and was being criticized for not having enough minorities and women on its faculty," The Washington Examiner's Michael Barone said in a wry note on the issue. "Of course Harvard and Warren say her claim to minority status had nothing to do with her being hired. And if it did, no one is going to say so."
After initially denying that she knew Harvard had touted her as a minority hiring, Warren admitted that she had told two universities that she was Native American. "As I have confirmed before, I let people know about my Native American heritage in a national directory of law school personnel," Warren said in a May statement. "At some point after I was hired by them, I also provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I'm proud of it and I have been open about it."
The New England Historic Genealogical Society said it could find "no proof" that Warren is Native American.
Warren has already received some blowback from the Cherokee Indian community. “You claim to be Cherokee, the group "Cherokees Demand Truth from Elizabeth Warren" said on its website. "We don’t claim you!"